It’s another night of back-to-back matches at Hofstra Soccer Stadium Saturday as the Long Island Rough Riders men’s and women’s sides return home seeking three points as they each chase a postseason spot.
On the women’s side, the Rough Riders return home following its 3-1 loss to New Jersey Copy FC on June 27. The season-long issue of conceding an early goal again reared its ugly head as New Jersey went ahead 1-0 in the 16th minute. Long Island’s only goal would come in stoppage time from Shaniel Morgan.
“It was a difficult result to accept because we had the right mentality coming to the game,” Karim Diallo, Long Island’s head coach told LIRoughRiders.com. “The approach was good. We started the game very well, keeping possession and creating chances. We missed a couple of early chances, which in my opinion would’ve made it a different game. We just were not clinical enough in front of goal and sometimes ran out of ideas in the final third.”
The defeat dropped the Rough Riders to 2-3-2 overall with eight points. Long Island trails UWS East Conference leaders Rochester Lancers (4-1-2) by six points with three matches remaining.
“We will need to be better and more creative in the final third to have a chance on Saturday,” Diallo said. “I think it might sound like a broken record but it’s vital for us to score first and control the pace of the game. We know how tough it is to always play from behind; it’s going uphill. For once we will need to try and go downhill because it’s a lot easier.”
On the men’s side, the Rough Riders are looking to rebound following its 1-0 loss to PDL Mid-Atlantic Division leaders Reading United AC on June 24. Long Island (8-3-1 overall, 7-2-1 PDL) remains second in the division, trailing Reading United (9-0-1; 28 points) by six points with four matches remaining. The Red Bulls U-23 (7-2-0) are third with 21 points.
“We are both battling for a playoff spot so it should be a very exciting game,” Stephen Roche, head coach told LIRoughRiders.com. “They are in great form and we are unbeaten at home, so something has to change on Saturday night and we are fully prepared to ensure that we get the result we need.”
Long Island played consecutive matches last weekend, winning one and losing the other. Charlie Ledula scored twice as the Rough Riders beat Lehigh Valley United 2-1 on June 23, but had their four-match unbeaten streak snapped by undefeated Reading United the next evening.
“We didn’t perform well on Saturday and were lucky to win the game against a very well-coached Lehigh team,” Roche said. “On Sunday we were excellent and didn’t deserve to lose the game. We made one mistake and were punished for it, but that’s football. I was very proud of our performance and the character we continue to show.”